Aspiring barrister and Law LLB student Beronique Addington attributes her experiences of mooting and a critical legal education at Kent as being the keys to success in securing a £10k scholarship from the The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple.
Beronique has been awarded Middle Temple’s Winston Churchill Scholarship, worth £10,750, after being interviewed virtually by a panel comprising three barristers. Middle Temple is one of four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to Call their members to the Bar of England and Wales.
When sharing her experience of mooting with the panel, Beronique was able to reflect on the way it had benefitted her legal education: ‘I found, when I had completed my moot, that I read case judgments a lot better. I’m not really too sure of the link but I was flying through a lot of information a lot quicker, perhaps because I had a more focused eye – you look for what you need and get through the obiter quicker.’
Overall, Beronique says what really helped her succeed at the interview was “being critical”: ‘A lot of us laugh about how you’re told we go to a critical law school but sometimes, we don’t know what that means. But in third year – with my assignments, interviews and work experience – it started to click. I think what the panel look for is your ability to evaluate your experiences, hence why so many people get asked the question about good or bad advocacy. Having an opinion on what you’ve seen in court and how you feel that did or didn’t work shows you’ve taken more out of the experience than just listening to court proceedings. Being at Kent Law School for three years gets you to do that without even thinking about it! I think that is why Middle Temple have really taken a liking to Kent Law School students. Don’t be afraid to be critical, it certainly helped me.’
Among the questions Beronique was asked at her interview was one designed to evaluate her ethics; a question about what she would do if she left confidential papers on a train in London. She was also asked about: her interest in family law; what area of law she would change; and examples of good and bad advocacy.
Although she always wanted to be a lawyer, it wasn’t until Beronique came to Kent that she decided to become a barrister: ‘With everyone making distinctions between solicitor and barrister, it wasn’t until it was fully explained to me what both roles entail that I settled 100% on being a barrister. The aspect of advocacy was what sold me; getting up in court and being a voice for people is really what pushed me to wanting to become a barrister.’
Beronique will begin a Barrister Training Course at BPP in September. Once she gets pupillage, her aim is to specialise in family law.
Her advice to fellow students aspiring to become barristers is to be yourself: ‘You will never be able to explain, relate or converse about anything better than you can talk about yourself, so make sure to definitely stay true to who are you and what you stand for. Don’t be afraid to talk about your background or beliefs and how that shapes your interactions with the law or your career. That is what initially gave me confidence, the legal experience just adds to it.’
Beronique was one of a number of students identified by the Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer, Jayne Instone, for a two-year Law Employability and Achievement Project (LEAP).
Jayne said: ‘LEAP was created, in collaboration with colleagues from the University’s Careers and Employability Service, for aspiring lawyers with good grades but little or no extra-curricular activity consistent with legal career development on their CVs. Opportunities available in preparing for a legal career are many but can be overwhelming to those lacking an informed support network. My aim with LEAP was to empower students so that they could take up the opportunities available to them.’
LEAP guaranteed access to a mentor in the legal profession. It also gave priority to participants for work experience placements, subject to acceptable applications. Beronique secured a Middle Temple Access to the Bar Award in 2019, winning two funded weeks of work experience; one week marshalling – shadowing a judge in court – and one week in Chambers. Beronique also won a ticket to the annual Kent Student Law Society dinner as a result of her participation in the project. Other LEAP benefits included a careers action plan, workshops, unlimited one-to-one support with CVs and applications, and etiquette training.
Beronique says she was in shock for the whole day when she heard the news about her scholarship: ‘It really took me back because I was really preparing for alternative plans for a gap year. Now that it has all sunk in, I’m extremely excited and genuinely honored that the Inn sees potential in me to go on to be a good barrister. It’s definitely a motivator for me to succeed.’